The Curtis family told a close neighbor that fire started in the kitchen early Tuesday morning as the children were getting ready for school. All of them rushed out into the street and could only watch as their world burned.
"I started hearing the mother screaming," said Angela Sierra, who lives across the street.
She quickly rescued the family of 12 from the cold.
"I said get all the kids inside the house," Sierra said. "They were coming in without shoes, without socks, diapers. It was real sad."
The family told her the fire started in the kitchen, when one of the children accidentally left a pan of oil on the stove.
"The fire was tremendous," Sierra said. "It was blowing out towards the back of the house."
Within minutes, the home was engulfed in flames. Barefoot and still in their PJs, the mother and her children, one of which was only a couple weeks old, lost everything.
"Everything was burned," said Epps Island Elementary School Principal Kristin Bevan. "They didn't even have shoes to wear on their feet."
Down the road at Epps Island, Bevan heard about the fire that left two of the school's students now homeless.
"Our faculty got together and collected some money and we got school uniforms and shoes, so they should be able to attend school," Bevan said.
Help came quickly with neighbors to the rescue, trying to fill the void after so much was lost.
The principal is asking for gift cards to help the Curtis family. Interested donors can drop those off at the elementary school. The Red Cross is also helping the family as well.
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